Lockdown could add another challenge to Sydney’s frustrated homebuyers by reducing the supply of available property while barely cutting prices.
The weekend’s home sales showed sellers continued to deliver strong results, with nearly 76 percent of scheduled auctions resulting in a sale, CoreLogic data showed.
The average price of homes sold at auction was nearly $ 1.6 million and peak sales were over $ 5 million.
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In some ways, the auction clearance rate in Sydney has been around 65 percent historically and close to 80 percent in the weeks leading up to the lockdown.
But the strong recent results masked what appeared to be a growing nervousness among sellers about the impact of the restrictions on on-site inspections and auctions.
Housing experts said this trend has resulted in a decline in available properties at a time when buyer demand has remained high.
It was originally supposed to have nearly 800 auctions a week, but by the weekend that number had dropped to around 660 as more sellers postponed their sales to later weeks.
A total of 108 properties were withdrawn from the auction, while 307 were sold prior to the auction.
Starr Partners chief executive Douglas Driscoll said a drop in listings due to homeowner sales delays would hurt buyers as fewer properties would be available to choose from.
“There’s no evidence yet that the lockdown has held buyers and it’s hard to see why it should,” said Driscoll.
“It looks more like the lockdown will be a breaker for the market, there will be less sales activity, but the market will not decline.”
Ray White chief economist Nerida Conisbee said the experience of Melbourne’s prolonged lockdown last year suggested serious buyers would not be deterred by the Covid-19 restrictions.
The most notable impact during the lockdown was a change in where Melbourne house hunters were looking for real estate, she said.
“There has been a strong trend towards real estate in the outer suburbs and in the area,” Ms. Conisbee said, adding that this was likely due to families wanting more space while they hid during the lockdown.
Cameron Kusher, director of economic research at Realestate.com.au, said sellers would likely be more responsive to the lockdown than buyers.
“(Lockdown) will have an impact on sales activity and there will be fewer auctions,” he said. “But if you’re a serious buyer, you still have the option to buy.”